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Research Details

  • Funding Organization : European Commission
  • Funding Programme : IST: Information Society Technologies
  • Duration : 36 months
  • Total Budget : 5,618,349 EUR
  • ITI Budget : 330,000 EUR
  • Scientific Responsible : Dr. Dimitrios Tzovaras


Automotive enterprises are becoming more customer-centric to meet today’s challenging market demands. Thus, mass customization adds industrial value to the enterprise in order to gain competitive advantage. This calls for restructured B2C relations and related new technologies. The automotive industry has furthermore become highly networked and requires improved communication on products and components in relation to its B2B relations.

In this context, CATER is specially tailored to bridge the gaps in the existing ICT world in industries through delivery of an integrated system that caters to the needs of customers, manufacturers and suppliers.

There are three major aspects of the proposal. First, CATER is a design philosophy that showcases the best practices of networked business (N-business). The ultimate goals of N-business is to achieve mass customization over the Internet through coherently integrating manufacturing production automation with supply chain management and sales-service support into a collaborative web of interactive commerce. N-business is advantageous over e-business in that it accentuates the network of collaborating partners along the entire product fulfilment process. Towards this end, a suite of innovative solutions for N-business will be developed in this project.

Second, CATER introduces ICT innovations in various business processes of product development that can enhance customer relationship management, while supporting the needs of concurrent engineering teams, beyond existing practices of the industry. The innovations include: citarasa engineering, 3D do-it-yourself design system with virtual reality interface, teardown reconfiguration system, design history system, and integration of CATER databases within the supply chain network.

Third, CATER demonstrates the need for a semantic driven system that ties together customers, designers and suppliers in a collaborative and mutually supporting endeavour. Customers must be supported in their online customization of cars; their affective and cognitive needs must be addressed with the support of e-catalogues of design options that can be configured easily while meeting their preferences, tastes and styles. Designers, on the other hand, need to be supported in their design activities by the teardown and design history management systems so that they can provide reliable and timely solutions. Therefore, CATER-generated semantics will become a common vocabulary and platform that connects and integrates customers, designers, suppliers and related stakeholders within a supply chain framework.